The readings for today’s class seem to be in two distinct categories. One being that of jealousy, the other being of American patriotism. Interestingly enough the two very different categories correlate.
Edgar Allen Poe’s short story, “The Cask of Amontillado”, tells a tale of revenge. Poe cleverly shows how money and jealousy drove the narrator, Montresor, to murder. Ironically the victim’s name, Fortunato, proved to be distant from his fate. Fortunato, a rich man to be missed by many, sadly died feet away from the bones of the forgotten. Jealousy is also present in Robert Browning’s poem “My Last Duchess”. In this poem Browning alludes that the speaker, the Duke, killed his wife because of her wondering eyes. He was unable to make her smile while she was alive so he had her smile captured on canvas and cast behind a curtain in her death. The reader is led to think the Duke killed his wife out of jealousy. The Duke could not control her while she was alive so by having her portrait behind a curtain, he is able to control when he or others are able to see her. The other two works, Barbara Hamby’s “Ode to American English” and Tony Hogland’s “America”, have a very patriotic tone to them. Both authors display nostalgic feelings for America. Although Hogland’s poem seems confused with whether or not to appreciate America or condemn it. Clearly Hogland has issues with American greed but while hating the greed, shows that the speaker loves it all the while, as presented in the last lines of the poem. It is this greed and jealousy that seems to be present in American society. It is this which has driven Montresor and the Duke to kill. Jealousy and want are natural feelings but when people allow it to consume their being it will be fatal. All the works are connected in this American way. As Americans who attend a Jesuit school, it is up to us to either allow America to drive us to murder or take advantage of our Jesuit education and be the change we wish to see in the world.